Friday, May 31, 2013

What I Use: Samsung Galaxy S4

Tragedy struck several days ago and my once beloved HTC Trophy was the victim of an unfortunate accident. True be told, I dropped it and while it bounces very well, I soon discovered that it's not too durable. Anyway, I needed to get another smartphone.

Definitely wasn't going to get another HTC Trophy, not because it was a bad phone but because it is limited to Windows Phone 7. I had just upgraded my wife to the Nokia Lumia 822, which is actually a nice Windows Phone 8 device. However, when I started thinking about the functionality that I needed (translation: specific apps that I wanted), Windows Phone 8, while nice, just did not meet my needs like I wished it would. Wasn't interested in getting an iPhone since I already have a work-provided iPhone 5. Then like a light shining from the heavens, I saw the Samsung Galaxy S4 (queue in angelic music now and release the doves to fly by in the background in slow motion).

I have never used an Android smartphone in the past because frankly they were kinda crappy at the time compared to the iPhone. However, with the release of Android 4.2 (better known as Jelly Bean), Android smartphones started looking more attractive. Add to the fact that I use my Nexus 7 tablet daily and recently purchased a 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 for my daughter, my decision to go with the Samsung Galaxy S4 became much easier.

While I am still learning the ins and outs of the Samsung Galaxy S4, the basic specs are pretty impressive:

  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean (beneath the highly customized Touch Wiz interface)
  • 1.9GHz Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 Processor
  • 16GB on board memory + 2GB RAM 
  • 5-inch HD Super AMOLED Corning Gorilla Glass 3 Touch Screen  Display (1920 x 1080)
  • 13MP rear-facing and 2.0MP front-facing cameras
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE
  • Support for microSD up to 64MB
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Removeable battery with a life up to 17 hours (under normal usage)

At 5.4 inches tall by 2.8 inches by 0.3 inch thick, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is comfortable to hold given it's large screen size (and still fits nicely in my pocket). However, unlike other smartphones such as the iPhone and HTC One, it is made of plastic instead of aluminum and glass, which can make it look and feel a bit cheap to some people. Definitely not a deal breaker. 

As I familiarize myself with all the cool features such as Air Gestures and Multi Window (Google Now is cool on a tablet but amazing on a phone), I am pretty impressed by the Samsung Galaxy S4. Like the Nexus 7 tablet, it has shown how far Google has come with the Android mobile platform. This is the idea smartphone to have if you are looking to upgrade your current Android phone or trying to avoid getting locked into devices from Apple or Microsoft.